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Chickens not using their roosts

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Blue_Myst, Oct 26, 2009.

  1. Blue_Myst

    Blue_Myst Songster

    Feb 5, 2009
    Every evening when I go out to shut my chickens in, there are always only one or two on the roosts! I have fashioned both the roosts and the top of the nest boxes for them to sleep on, but recently more and more chickens want to sleep on top of the nest box. The roosts are several inches higher than the nest boxes.

    Their roosts are at least four inches wide, so I wouldn't think it would be foot-warming problem? It has been getting a bit colder.

    Could I have mites that hide in my wooden roosts, and that's why they don't like to sleep there? I've looked, but all I've ever found on my chickens are lice.

    I don't mind them sleeping on the nest boxes since I made the top of them easy to clean, but it puzzles me why they don't want to use the perfectly good roosts. [​IMG]

    Age: They are all full grown, varying in ages between 8 months and 4 years.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2009

  2. team guava pastry

    team guava pastry Songster

    Feb 4, 2009
    Miami, FL
    We have 4 chochins, and they take turns some on the roost and some on the floor.

    They mix it up I'm just glad that they all go in the coop every night.

    IMO just be glad that they are doing good and are healthy. Don't worry about their sleeping/roosting habits.[​IMG]
  3. BWchicken

    BWchicken Songster

    Jun 4, 2009
    I was beginning to think mine would never roost, but they finally became interested around 4 months old. Even then, they would roost in odd nooks and crannies in the coop instead of the 4" wide roost we lovingly made for them. But they finally got it and love their roost now.

    Sometimes the "head chicken" will hog the roost from the others, so you might watch them at their bedtime and see if that's happening. But most likely they just prefer the top of the nest boxes. They're still up high enough so it may just be a more comfortable spot for them. I agree that as long as they're healthy and happy I wouldn't worry about it too much.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2009
  4. You don't say how old your chickens are. Many will take a while before they figure out the use of the roosts. If they are not laying yet, I would close up/block the nesting boxes until they get the hang of using the roosts to sleep on. You don't want to have to deal with messy eggs from poop filled nest boxes if you don't have too!
  5. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    Unless they are too heavy to reach the roosts they'll eventually figure it out. They always do. May take a month or so.

  6. Yep and sometimes heavy birds are not so concerned with getting up as they are with safely getting down without an injury...smart hens! You can use a bale of straw if needed. Mine like the platform over the nest boxes too, cosier and they drape over each other there. They use the roosts for grooming and go:lol:ssip only...
  7. koifarm

    koifarm Songster

    Hens are funny, mine prefer huddling on the floor of the coop when four nice perches are available for them, last night one hen decided to perch, the rest were on the floor....
    If they are perching on top of the nest boxes, set the angle of the top very steep, it will discourage roosting on the roofs...

  8. Blue_Myst

    Blue_Myst Songster

    Feb 5, 2009
    Original post is updated. I can't believe I forgot their ages [​IMG]

    Thanks for all the input! I wasn't really worried, just rather disappointed they didn't like the roosts. *grumbles* If only they knew how long it took me to get them just right...

    The ironic thing is, they always jump onto the roosts to get to the top of the egg box. [​IMG] I guess they feel that it is easier to snuggle and keep their feet warm if they sleep on the egg box instead. Though having five large hens struggle onto the top of the box that is hardly three feet wide is rather comical to watch.
  9. gsim

    gsim Songster

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    Could be a draft in area of roost? I have had tiny roosts only 4" off floor from day one for mine and they all took to them big-time. Soon I had to make an 8" one and they took to it also. So mine have always had perches from the beginning and that is probably why they like them so.

    Mine are about 1 1/2" wide. If you are up north, wider is better in wintertime, but 1 1/2' to 2" is about right for their feet when they are grown. None sleep in nest boxes that I know of, but hardly any sleep on lower tier of roosts either. They all want up on the 48" height ones and there is enough room for all 24 of them up there too. When I go to lock up the henhouse for the night, there are always a few that have not made it up to top roosts yet. It is lights out for them so I never know if they make it up by the night light I leave in there or not.

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